(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is definitely a good battle/war epic, yes it did have some cliches and unnecessary things, but just sit back and relax and enjoy the good action with a decent ending to this trilogy. Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.
When The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug came out I gave this movie a lot of flack for the way it ended and really started my rants on how Hollywood are duping us into paying for these movies that is stretched out for too many movies and leaves us with cliffhanger endings that we have to wait a year to watch again. (Just see my review on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 to really get the point.) The Hobbit was just one book where director Peter Jackson decided let’s make an uneccesary trilogy. I guess I was disappointed because I was really enjoying this second Hobbit movie but the cliffhanger ending (also lazy writing) really killed my mood of this movie. (I’m even more annoyed with the way this movie started as well, but more on this later in this review.) With that said, I was really interested to see how they will end this trilogy, and pretty much this franchise that Peter Jackson created based on the classic Lord of the Rings book by J. R. R. Tolkien. I knew this movie will be epic, and was looking for one more great battle to enjoy. I will start with what I like, to the so so, to what I didn’t like.
What I like, director Peter Jackson is great at creating these kind of battle/war epics, and this movie was no different. Each battle scene was crafted well with a nice combination of real and CGI’ed action. Really all you can do is sit back and enjoy the show. If you are fans of the whole franchise, you get what you are expecting and it doesn’t disappoint in the aspect of action and acting. There were so many moments that were fun and at times funny. One funny moment was a random one where a cyclops with a helmet was running full fledge to a stone wall, breaks it with his head, and gets knocked out while the rest of the army goes in. You have to see it, to understand why I thought it was funny, and I believe that was Jackson’s purpose for that scene. Two epic battles I really enjoyed. One is where Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom, was fighting Bolg, played by John Tui on a stone bridge. I just enjoyed seeing Legolas fighting without using his trademark bow and arrow. He uses his nimbleness to avoid Bolg’s strong attacks. It got to a point where the bridge started to fall and you see Legolas jump stone by stone to grab Bolg by the head with his legs and manage to make Bolg fall to his death. That was fun to watch. The other battle I really enjoyed was seeing the Dwarf King Thorin, played by Richard Armitage, against the Orc leader Azog, played by Manu Bennett, on top of some frozen ice. At first you see that Azog is clearly stronger than him, but Thorin is faster than him. Azog tries to kill him with a wrecking ball connected to a chain but it leads him to missing Thorin and breaking the surface of the ice. Which leads to Thorin in outsmarting Azog into falling in the water which appears that he has drowned. However, Azog manages to get out of the water and pin Thorin down. He manages to get his sword arm impaling Thorin, but Thorin sacrifices himself (I know it is cliched, but I enjoy sacrifice) and managing to impale Azog, officially killing him. One character building scene I like is when Thorin sees all the treasure his kingdom of Dwarves possess after Samug was defeated. All of a sudden, you see Thorin having a change of attitude. Almost an attitude of greed taking over him in keeping all the treasure and refusing his word to the people of Laketown. Not only that, he decides to barricade himself and not fight unless attacked. This leads to a big disagreement in his fellow dwarves and Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman. This leads to a cool scene where you can see Thorin fighting two personalities. One personality where he was turning to Smaug, and the other personality where he is the respected Dwarf King. Luckily, he came to his senses and lead his army into battle. I also enjoyed seeing Bard, played by Luke Evans, becoming a great leader for the people of Laketown and helping them recover after the attack by Smaug and during the war. It shows how good and respected he is, and how he leads for the best of his people.
The so so, the movie began where the second movie left off. You see the dragon Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, attacking the city of Laketown. It leads to tremendous destruction, but Bard manages to kill Smaug with a black spear to his weak spot killing the dragon. It was a cool scene and all, but (here comes the rant) that cliffhanger was completely uneccesary. They could have ended the whole Smaug story in the second movie, and ended it with a set up for the last battle in the story. I know it will make the second movie long, but what is fifteen more minutes. Another ploy by Hollywood to get people in their seats to see fifteen minutes after the cliffhanger and start the next movie in The Hobbit series. I said it once and say it again, this is a trend in movies that needs to stop. Now, for the character of Bilbo Baggins who is the main protagonist of the whole The Hobbit trilogy really wasn’t that big of a character in this movie. Then again, how can you develop his character even more when the whole movie was just pure battle action, and all Bilbo does is warn the armies of another attack, and throw rocks at the enemies before he gets knocked out by an Orc. The ending was decent but a little off tuned. I mean, Bilbo returns home and finds all his possessions being auctioned off, because they thought he was dead. He manages to get in his house and that’s it. Then it goes to him in old age again writing his story. It did give closure, but it made my mind run around again on what just happened. At least the ending wasn’t as stretched out as in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
What I didn’t like, the whole battle/war scenes came with some minor cliches other than Thorin sacrificing himself to kill Azog. The whole dwarves not fighting, but when they do fight, it was the turning point of the battle. The whole thing when one of the dwarf brothers was killed by an Azog, the other brother goes on a killing rampage cliche as well. Also what happens to Alfrid, played by Ryan Gage, after he cowardly runs away dressed as a women with some treasure. I know nobody likes him, but I believe if he suffers some punishment, it would be more satisfying. Also this is a Lord of the Rings style cliche of the Great Eagles saving the day cliche. I mean how much they rely on these Great Eagles in all six of their movies of this franchise. Lastly, the whole love story between Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly, and Kili, played by Aiden Turner. A couple that shouldn’t happen since one is an elf and the other is a dwarf which creates chagrin to their kingdoms. I thought it was corny especially with the great cliche of Kili sacrificing his life to save Tauriel. All I can do is roll my eyes in those scenes.
Overall, The Hobbit trilogy is a cool trilogy, but no where near as good as the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. As a prequel, it is a fun prequel that leads to the epicness of the original trilogies. With that said, I’m done with the stories from Middle Earth, and want to see Peter Jackson move on to make another kind of movie. It is a good end to this great franchise, and I am satisfied with these movies which I believe will make J. R. R. Tolkien proud. Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.
(Sidenote: Stretch- This straight to DVD movie was actually quite entertaining, funny, and weird as well. It stars Patrick Wilson as Stretch a limo driver who is finding purpose with his life. When he realizes he has a gambling debt that he needs to pay $6000 by midnight, he drives a pretty eccentric billionaire businessman named Karos, played by Chris Pine, who promises the money if he helps him going on a wild crazy night driving him around. This movie is randomly funny. It had some hysterical caneos by David Hasselhoff and Ray Liotta. Also stars Ed Helms as a ghost haunting Stretch during the whole night. If you have nothing to do, I recommend watching this movie. It will be entertaining for you and cure your boredom. Rating: 4 out of 5.)